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Missing Woman: Marilyn Renee 'Niqui' McCown - IN - 7/22/2001

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Niqui McCown

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Unsolved Mysteries




DOB: 1/6/73

HEIGHT: 5'2"

WEIGHT: 115 pounds

HAIR: Brown

EYES: Brown

Broadcast Date: September 19, 2002

SYNOPSIS: On July 22nd, 2001, it was a sweltering day in Richmond, Indiana. But when 28-year-old Niqui McCown walked into her mother's house, it wasn't only the weather that had her hot under the collar.

Niqui told her mom that two guys were harassing her at the laundromat. Authorities believe Niqui McCown returned to the laundromat a short time later, but no one knows for sure. Niqui mysteriously disappeared that muggy summer day. She has not been seen or heard from since. Police suspect foul play. However, two elements essential to solving most homicides were missing: There was no body... and no apparent motive. Niqui McCown was friendly, had no known enemies and looked forward with great anticipation to her upcoming wedding. That never happened. And detectives are now left with a complex puzzle and a bunch of pieces that simply didn't fit.

Sunday July 22, 2001 began routinely enough. After attending church, Niqui set off to do the laundry while her finance, Bobby Webster, met the 'best man' in his wedding at a local tuxedo shop. Bobby and Niqui planned to get together later that afternoon. The big event was just 3 weeks off -and the bride-to-be wanted the special day to be extra special. Niqui had a 9-year-old daughter from a prior relationship, and even her ex-boyfriend seemed happy for her. Niqui had always been a perfectionist, despite being the youngest and most precocious of 10 kids in a close-knit family. So what happened to Niqui that summer day in 2001? Did she return to the laundromat where she was confronted by two strangers up to no good? And why did those close to Niqui find no trace of her anywhere?

The day after Niqui's disappearance -Monday July 23rd -her fiance contacted the Richmond police department. Over the next week, detectives looked into the alleged incident at the laundromat and the possibility that Niqui had been abducted. They also had questions for her finance, Bobby Webster. According to police, Bobby had begun acting very strangely in the days immediately following Niqui's disappearance. Instead of postponing the wedding, he cancelled it entirely, demanding a full refund from the reception hall. Bobby then tried to return his wedding band -also for cash -but the manager refused. Niqui had paid for the ring and her name was on the receipt. An argument ensued and, allegedly, nearly turned violent. Bobby had to be escorted from the store. Bobby said he needed the money to help find Niqui -to pay for flyers and a cell phone. Detectives asked Bobby to take a polygraph test. He refused at first, but later agreed to the test.

More than three months passed with still no sign of Niqui McCown. Then, on November 5th, 2001, detectives caught a break. Niqui's SUV was found parked at a sprawling apartment complex in Dayton, Ohio -45 minutes east of her home in Indiana. It had apparently been abandoned for some time. Police found a punched out door lock, an ignition that had been tampered with, and a missing stereo system. Unfortunately, locating the SUV raised more questions than it answered. Police found no fingerprints or other promising leads that might help them find Niqui. However, they did make one important discovery: her laundry. The clothes looked like they had come just from the Laundromat and were folded neatly. That seemed to rule out the abduction theory. If Niqui had been forcibly removed from the Laundromat, why would her clothes be in the back of the SUV?

Even more puzzling was this: Who drove the vehicle from Richmond to Dayton? And why? Detectives canvassed the area and soon found that Niqui's ex-boyfriend lived in another part of the large apartment complex where the SUV was found. Police talked to the father of her child and verified that he was at work at the time that she was reported missing. Police eliminated him as a suspect.

However, investigators discovered that Niqui made a phone call to Dayton the day she disappeared -to a co-worker who lived about a mile from where the SUV was found. They talked about some specialty hair and nail products and Niqui was told she could purchase the items at a store in Dayton.

There was also a third possible scenario: if Niqui did drive to Dayton that Sunday afternoon, perhaps something tragic happened on the way. But how did her SUV end up in the parking lot of her ex-boyfriend's apartment complex? Was it simply an unbelievable coincidence? Some believe that it could have been placed there to throw off suspicion. That theory led Detectives right back to Bobby Webster -and his suspicious behavior following Niqui's disappearance. But Niqui's sister believes Bobby is innocent of any wrongdoing. Niqui's mother, however, isn't so sure. Police continue to follow up on other possible suspects while also keeping a close eye on Bobby Webster.

Niqui McCown's fate remains a mystery. Friends say she adored her daughter and would never have run off by herself. Some continue to speculate that her finance had something to do with her disappearance. But what possible motive did he have? And what about Niqui's ex-boyfriend? He cooperated fully and passed a polygraph test. Could it have been a random act of violence? If that was the case, why was Niqui's vehicle found abandoned at the apartment complex in Dayton? Perplexing questions -without any good answers.

Characteristics: Niqui was last seen on July 22nd, 2001 in Richmond, Indiana. She would now be 29 years old. She is 5'2" tall and weighs 115 pounds. Niqui has brown eyes and brown hair. She also has a small scar over her left eye.

If you have any information about the disappearance of Marilyn 'Niqui' McCown, please contact the Richmond (Indiana) Police Department, or call the Unsolved Mysteries hotline, 1-800-876-5353.

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Missing Adult: Marilyn Niqui McCown

Marilyn Niqui McCown was last seen at a Laundromat in the area of the 1000 block of South E Street in Richmond Indiana. While her clothes were either washing or drying, she went to her mother's house and voiced concerns about a group of Hispanic boys who had been harassing her at the Laundromat.

She was reluctant, but returned to the Laundromat. She was last seen loading clothes into the back of her 1990 Jimmy 4X4 at around 2:45 in the afternoon. The GMC Jimmy with OH License Plate # CNC6753 was located abandoned on 03-NOV-2001 in the Meadow of Catalpa apartment complex. The stereo and battery to her vehicle were missing, and her door lock was knocked in. However, her laundry was found still folded inside the back of the vehicle.

The police had questions for her fiancé, Bobby Webster. According to police, Bobby had begun acting very strangely in the days immediately following Marilyn’s disappearance. Instead of postponing the wedding, he cancelled it entirely, demanding a full refund from the reception hall. Bobby then tried to return his wedding band – also for cash – but the manager refused. Niqui had paid for the ring and her name was on the receipt. An argument ensued and, allegedly, nearly turned violent. Bobby had to be escorted from the store. Bobby said he needed the money to help find Niqui – to pay for flyers and a cell phone. Detectives asked Bobby to take a polygraph test. He refused at first, but later agreed to the test.

If Marilyn did drive to Dayton that Sunday afternoon, perhaps something tragic happened on the way. But how did her GMC Jimmy end up in the parking lot of her ex-boyfriend’s apartment complex? Was it simply an unbelievable coincidence? Some believe that it could have been placed there to throw off suspicion. That theory led Detectives right back to Bobby Webster – and his suspicious behavior following Marilyn’s disappearance. Police continue to follow up on other possible suspects while also keeping a close eye on Bobby Webster.

Contact Information

Richmond Police Department 765-983-7247

Unsolved Mysteries 800-876-5353

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Family, friends mark missing woman's birthday with vigil

Niqui McCown's relatives read poem, reflect on overcoming bitterness

By Rachel E. Sheeley

Staff writer

Payton Johnston organized a get-together in a coin-operated laundry to mark the 33rd birthday of her mother, Marilyn Renee "Niqui" McCown.

The 13-year-old chose the Corner Laundry, formerly the Richmond Coin Laundry, in the 1000 block of South E Street because it was the last place her mother was seen before she disappeared on July 22, 2001.

A small group of family members, friends and strangers met to light candles, say prayers, express their feelings and to sing "Happy Birthday" to McCown.

"I thought it was good," Payton said. "I wanted everyone to come out and have a moment of silence on her birthday."

Payton read a poem in which she asks, "Why, why was it you? Why did they take you?... Why don't I have a mom? ... Why can't I just go back in time to that Sunday and save you? Why you, why?"

The family often celebrates McCown's birthday by themselves, but this year Payton wanted to make a special effort to keep her mother's story in the media.

Crews from two Dayton television stations were present and an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries" that shares McCown's story had been repeated recently.

As white and dark purple candles burned, McCown's sister, Terrilyn Jett, talked about how her life has changed since McCown disappeared in 2001.

"It's just like we woke up out of a bad dream. Thank God that I have a peace now. I may not have my sister, but I have peace," Jett said. "He knows the answers and he's going to give us the answers.

"Four years ago, we were really bitter. I was the bitterest.

I wanted to seek out revenge. God's given me peace. It's a beautiful thing," she said.

The group clasped hands to pray for McCown.

"All we ask for right now is closure," prayed family friend Cairo Hardin. "...Let Niqui's name not be forgotten."

"We miss you Niqui and love you," said McCown's sister, Tamie Hughes.

"We don't have closure, but we are able to forgive," Jett said. "...If there is someone and they know something, our family, we forgive you."

Valerie Taylor of Richmond doesn't know McCown's family, but she came to the vigil.

"I bless you," Taylor said.

As she talked with Jett about the comfort Jett has found in faith, Taylor said that through her disappearance, McCown "has reached people to reach God...

"Look how many people have been touched and turned to God."

"It's through God that we're strengthened each day," Jett said. "It gets easier and easier. We're able to reach out and help others."

She said the family, especially Payton, has been able to share its experiences and support with other families who have a missing member.

Payton's aunts admire her strength.

"She's our rock," Hughes said.

Reporter Rachel E. Sheeley: (765) 973-4458 or

Originally published January 7, 2006

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Laundry Mat Vigil for Missing Woman

Dated: 01/06/2006 09:55:39 PM

Niqui McCown's family holds a somber ceremony to mark her 33rd birthday.

Friday, family and friends gathered at the Richmond laundry mat where Niqui disappeared back in 2001. Her young daughter, Payton, lit a candle in her mom's memory by dryer number 15, the one Niqui would always use.

Loved ones say it's hard honoring Niqui's birthday year after year. But, they will continue to keep her memory alive, hopeful that she will one day come home. Niqui's mother, Barbara McCown said, "I made a promise to my husband I'd see this through."

Niqui's car was found in Dayton shortly after her disappearance, but that's the only clue investigators have. However, police due remain active in the case.

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Family Still Hopes For Niqui's Return

Dated: 01/06/2006 10:55:21 AM Updated: 01/06/2006 04:08:09 PM

It's been more than four years since Niqui McCown was last seen at a Richmond laundromat.

Today holds special meaning for her family for it is Niqui McCown's 33rd birthday. A day her family wishes they could spend with her, but instead they are still doing what they can to bring her home. Niqui was last seen in 2001.

According to her sister, she stopped by her mother's house and told her some guys were giving her a hard time at the laundromat. She then went back to that laundromat to get her belongings and never returned.

Her family believes she was taken against her will. Her car was found later in Dayton. Her family is hanging on to hope that someone will come forward.

They last spoke to 2News back in the summer of 2005.

"I'm really angry at the system at the whole structure of justice. We don't want no money. We don't want any of that. All's we want is Niqui back," is what Niqui's mother Barbara McCown said then.

Niqui's family will hold a vigil in her honor Friday evening at the laundry mat where she was last seen on South East Street in Richmond. That will take place at 7:30 p.m.

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Vigil Held For Woman Who Disappeared 5 Years Ago

POSTED: 12:36 pm EST January 7, 2006

UPDATED: 1:06 pm EST January 7, 2006

RICHMOND, Indiana -- Niqui McCown, who disappeared five years ago, was remembered Friday night at a candlelight vigil n what was her 33rd birthday.

The vigil took place at a Laundromat in Richmond, Ind. That is where her family last saw her.

Authorities said McCown car was found in Harrison Township at an apartment complex. She reportedly knew a man who lived there, but he said he never saw her.

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Family marks 5 years after disappearance


Niqui McCown's family and friends will mark the fifth anniversary of her disappearance with a celebration of life.

The event is set for 6 to 9:30 p.m. July 22 at the Boys and Girls Club, 1717 S. L St.

McCown vanished on July 22, 2001, from a coin-operated laundry at 1100 S. E St. It was a Sunday. She was to have been married two weeks later.

Despite an intensive investigation here and in Dayton, Ohio, no trace of McCown was ever found. Her car, which went missing when she did, was found months later in a Dayton apartment building parking lot, but it yielded no clues.

McCown was 28 when she disappeared. She left behind a daughter who was 8 then.

McCown's entire name is Marilyn Renee Nicole McCown, but in her childhood Nicole got shortened to Niqui by young siblings who had trouble with the pronunciation. Now Niqui has become the shorthand for Richmond's most high profile unsolved missing person case.

The celebration of life for Niqui will include speakers from the Midwest Coalition for the Missing and the family and friends of other missing persons.

There will be food and singing ad activities for children.

Originally published July 14, 2006

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A march for Niqui

Family, community remember woman's 2001 disappearance

By Rebecca Helmes

Staff writer

In the four years that her mother has been missing, Payton Johnston was content to let other family members as well as friends speak on behalf of Marilyn Renee "Niqui" McCown.

But on Friday, which marked another anniversary since Niqui's disappearance, the 13-year-old addressed the crowd. She finally wanted to speak her mind.

She told parents to kiss their children each day before they go to sleep because they never know which kiss will be their last. She doesn't want them to end up like her, spending years missing a loved one.

"For four years, I haven't had a mother," Payton said.

Niqui McCown hasn't been seen by her family and loved ones since she disappeared from a coin-operated laundry at 1100 S. E St. on July 22, 2001.Her family and friends are as passionate about the cause as ever. Terrilyn Jett, Niqui's sister, said the march was about something bigger -- stopping violence in neighborhoods and bringing communities back together.

"We're still very much hopeful," Jett said. "It's been really tough."

As 60 or so people marched from the 600 block of South 10th Street, near where Niqui was last seen, to the Richmond Municipal Building, they carried signs and shouted statements condemning domestic violence.

"Something happened to her, somebody knows, they never came forth for whatever reason," Michelle McCown said, also Niqui's sister. She said determination, love and respect for all of the Niquis in the world is what keeps them vigilant about trying to find missing people.

"We're basically their voices, and they need to be heard," Michelle McCown said.

Dominique Hampton, Niqui's nephew, said "a bunch of broken hearts" is what he thinks of when he thinks of Niqui.

As Niqui's mother Barbara McCown spoke at the podium, surrounded by her daughters and granddaughter, she expressed hope that Niqui will be found but expressed frustration at the results the investigation has turned up so far.

The attention given to the "Runaway Bride" on the national news earlier this year made her especially upset.

"It seems that if you don't come from the elite you don't matter," Barbara McCown said.

The McCowns have spoken with local and regional news media and have also taken Niqui's story on shows such as Unsolved Mysteries and The Montel Williams Show.

Unfortunately, Niqui shares her missing status with more than 100,000 other Americans. According to Nation's Missing Children's Organization and the National Center for Missing Adults, about 55,000 of those cases are juveniles.

In Richmond though, Niqui's case is the highest profile missing person investigation of late. Richmond Police Sgt. Brad Berner said since the beginning of the year, 89 people have been reported missing to the department. Most of those turned out to be runaways or people who returned or made themselves known after a short period of time.

Berner even said Gerald Leroy Goble, also known as Chop Chop by many people, has been reported seen often enough for police to now believe he's around the community somewhere. Goble has been reported missing since mid-2003.

Besides McCown, only one other missing person case remains open in Richmond. Carl Holland was 23 when he was reported missing in June 1983. Police suspected foul play, and even dug up some area wells in search of evidence. They never turned up enough information to locate Holland.

Mayor Sally Hutton, who attended the Friday march, said she has met with the McCown family a few times and admires their faith and tenacity to solve the case.

"They want closure and I think that's only fair for them," Hutton said. "We can only hope and pray that it will happen sooner rather than later."

Barbara McCown said all the family wants is justice for Niqui and other missing people.

"Four years ago, something was taken from me," Barbara McCown said. "No mother should have to feel this."

Reporter Rebecca Helmes: (765) 973-4478 or rhelmes@richmond.

Originally published July 23, 2005

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Family of Missing Woman Begs for Help

Dated: 07/23/2006 12:00:00 AM

Niqui McCown's strange disappearance is a mystery that haunts her family and breaks the hearts of those who loved the young woman.

On Saturday, the McCown family and the Midwest Coalition for the Missing marked the fifth year since Niqui vanished.

Supporters held a memorial celebration of Niqui's life, but her mother Barbara says it has been difficult.

"Each day has become more tolerable ...but only to a point," she tells 2 News.

It was July 22, 2001, when Niqui McCown was last seen at the coin-operated laundromat in Richmond, Indiana. The 28-year-old mother was supposed to be married in 2 weeks. She also had an 8-year-old daughter who was devastated.

Months later, police found Niqui's car at a Dayton apartment building parking lot, but there were no clues.

Despite intensive investigation, no trace of McCown has ever been found.

Niqui's sister, Michelle McCown-Luster says that it's only recently that she's been able to come to terms with her loss.

"I realize that yeah, my sister's still missing but through me her memory will continue and continue," McCown-Luster says.

The family is still searching for answers, and Niqui's mother has a message for the community.

"Just imagine this was your child. Put yourself into my place. Just give us our baby. All we want is Niqui. We don't ask for vengeance. All we want is Niqui."

Posted by J. Katsuyama

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5 years later: Still hoping, praying Daughter of Niqui finds joy in celebration

Family, friends of missing woman gather, celebrate




Five years ago, Marilyn Renee "Niqui" McCown disappeared after being last seen at a coin-operated laundry in the 1000 block of South E Street.

She remains missing.

In the past five years, much has changed for her daughter and her family.

Her little girl, Payton Johnston, was just 9 when she last saw her mother. Just a week ago, she celebrated her 14th birthday.

McCown's nine siblings and stepsiblings didn't always see eye-to-eye back then.

"We have gotten closer because we have the same focus. We want the same thing," said McCown's sister, Terrilyn Jett.

They want to know what happened to McCown.

On past anniversaries of McCown's disappearance, the family has had candlelight vigils. This year, they organized a celebration of McCown's life and brought together, with the help of the Midwest Coalition for the Missing, several families and law enforcement members who are seeking lost loved ones or the criminals who are to blame. About 100 people gathered Saturday at the Richard Jeffers Boys & Girls Club for the discussion, food, fellowship, and entertainment for children.

"We just decided to celebrate the memory of her -- not to say that she's not coming back," said McCown's sister, Michelle McCown-Luster.

"I feel so good," McCown-Luster said. "It's overwhelming to see all these people from out of town coming out."

"The community just seems to be there for us," Jett said, noting that there are three donated billboards around Richmond reminding people that information is still sought in McCown's disappearance.

When her sister first disappeared, Jett said she was terribly angry. It took a long time, she said, but she was finally able to let go of that anger through faith.

"We live by faith, not by sight," Jett said.

One day, she hopes that their prayers and questions will be answered.

"Niqui lives daily in my heart," McCown's mother, Barbara McCown told those gathered. "I talk to her and I sing to her and I pray with her.

"For you who loved Niqui and held her close, she is not gone. Look around ... Share this with everyone and let them know the power of love," Barbara McCown said.

Many tears were shed during the evening as Barbara McCown and others recalled McCown. However, none were so touching as those shed by Payton when she tried to thank her family members and friends for their support during the past five years. She broke off, in tears, and turned sobbing into her father's arms.

"This is why we're here," said Patti Bishop, co-founder of the Midwest Coalition for the Missing. "The pain of the child whose mother was snatched away without that final moment."

Bishop's stepdaughter, Karen Jo Smith, was last seen in 2000 in Indianapolis and remains missing. However, Smith's ex-husband was convicted of her murder in 2004.

"We feel we all understand each other's pain," said Karren Kraemer, co founder of the coalition, whose daughter is missing from Milwaukee, Wis.

The McCowns and other families with missing members were able to gain inspiration Friday night by hearing the stories of prosecutor Ellen Corcella, whose work led to the conviction of Smith's ex-husband, Lt. Don Bender of the Indianapolis Police Department's missing persons unit, and two officers from North Carolina.

Bender likened each missing persons case to being given a 1,000-piece puzzle of a field full of sunflowers, only to find just four pieces in the box and having to locate all the others.

"If Niqui was a victim of violence, you can be assured there are other people out there who know about it," Bender said.

The speakers encouraged the McCowns and others in similar circumstances to work and find support from others who share their experience, to work with law enforcement and to continue to keep their loved one's story in the minds of their communities because it only takes the right tip to solve the mystery.

Although Payton Johnston was moved to tears Saturday night as she remembered her mother and shared her appreciation for those who have helped her, she also was able to find joy in the evening.

The celebration of her mother, Niqui McCown, also include a birthday celebration for her, complete with cake, the "Happy Birthday" song and gifts.

Payton grinned as she dumped foam peanuts from a box to discover a mouse, speakers and mouse pad for a brand new computer from the Midwest Coalition for the Missing members.

"She is the best of Niqui's life," said coalition cofounder Karren Kraemer, adding a promise that the mothers in the group will offer Payton any assistance they can. "We'll be here for the rest of her life."

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Marilyn "Niqui" McCown will be featured on television program "Missing".

The show will air the week of July 31, 2006, and in most areas, is shown on the following weekend.

Please check out whick station airs the program in your area by visiting the following link.

Then check out the station's site (provided in the above link) for the exact day and time the show airs.

All the following adults and children will be featured on this episode.

Marilyn "Niqui" McCown, Suzanne Lyall, Savanna Todd, Brandy Hanna, Jeremy Alex, Brianna Wilkins, Mark Jackson, Theresa Waldron, Damon Bonds, Rogelio Cerda, Sofia Hernandez, Johan Garcia-Bonilla, Kelly Wilson, Shawn White, Tristen Myers, Vicente Nunez, Karla Coronado, Mary Ann White, James Martin Jr., Oscar Romero, Ekaterina Shcherbakova, Bianca Lebron, Karla Rodriguez, Daniel Ryan.

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From: - $2 Million in Rewards Offered for Missing Persons

NEWS FLASH: THE $2 Million Dollar Story

$2 MILLION DOLLARS IN REWARDS for information leading to the recovery of or the arrest and conviction of person(s) responsible for the disappearance of said missing person.

$100,000.00 REWARD EACH FOR 20 MISSING PERSONS FOR 20 DAYS, NOVEMBER 5th - 24th, 2006.

Twenty Missing Persons:

Christy Lynn Garrard

Missing from Boaz, AL

August 14, 1998

Jesse Florez

Missing from Phoenix, AZ

September 14, 2001

Cleashindra Denise Hall

Missing from Pine Bluff, AR

June 9, 1994

Lola Katherine Fry

Missing from Greenwood, IN

November 14, 1993

Harold Bradley Hensley

Missing from Plainfield, IN

January 11, 2006

Scott Michael Javins

Missing from Terre Haute, IN

May 24, 2002

Marilyn Renee McCown

Missing from Richmond, IN

July 22, 2001

Shannon Marie Sherrill

Missing from Thorntown, IN

October 5, 1986

Karen Jo Smith

Missing from Indianapolis, IN

December 27, 2000

Rayanne Turner

Missing from Indianapolis, IN

December 4, 1997

Heather Teague

Missing from Spottsville, KY

August 26, 1995

Reuben Bennett Blackwell II

Missing from Clinton, MD

May 6 1996

Kimberly Lawanda Carter

Missing from Kansas City, MO

July 5, 1984

Regina "Gina" Bos

Missing from Lincoln, NE

October 17, 2000

Jason Anthony Jolkowski

Missing from Omaha, NE

June 13, 2001

Danielle Nottingham

Missing from Princeton, NJ

January 11, 2003

Beatrice E. Elliott

Missing from Philadelphia, PA

March 14, 2005

William "Dean" Ponder

Missing from Spartan County, SC

August 28, 1993

Amos K. Mortier

Missing from Madison, WI

November 8, 2005

Alexis Patterson

Missing from Milwaukee, WI

May 3, 2002

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Palladium-Item - - Richmond, Ind.

Richmond woman's disappearance brings reward offer

The family of Niqui McCown has called a news conference for 9 a.m. Friday at the Richmond Municipal Building. They were to be in Indianapolis today to participate in the announcement of a 20-day offer of a $100,000 reward for information about her disappearance five years ago.

McCown is one of seven mission Hoosiers included in the offer from Philadelphia businessman Joe Mammana, according to information on the Internet. Niqui McCown was last seen July 22, 2001, in a coin laundry on South E Street. The reward offer starts Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 24.

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$2M put up for missing persons |

$2M put up for missing persons

Businessman offers rewards in 20 cases, 7 in Indiana

Seven families of missing Hoosiers have rekindled hope of finding their loved ones -- or at least finding out what happened to them -- thanks to a Philadelphia businessman who is putting up big rewards.

Family members of six of the seven gathered Downtown on Thursday at the Omni Severin Hotel to plead for information and to dangle the lure of $100,000 -- in each case -- to anyone who offers information that locates the missing person or leads to arrests and convictions in the cases.

The Indiana seven are among 20 missing persons cases nationwide tagged with rewards totaling $2 million put up by Joe Mammana, who owns an egg farm and is a former Marine. He has a degree in criminal justice and a police record for charges of aggravated assault, drugs, fraud and theft.

In recent years, however, he has become a crime fighter, putting up sizable rewards in high-profile cases, including that of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama high school student who vanished last year in Aruba.

Last month, Patti Bishop, stepmother of Karen Jo Smith, who disappeared in Indianapolis on Dec. 27, 2000, contacted Mammana about her vision for a "Squeaky Wheel Tour'' to draw attention to missing persons cases.

Mammana liked the idea and agreed to fund rewards to try to draw out information. In short order, he and Bishop devised a plan to offer $2 million for 20 cases for 20 days -- Sunday through Nov. 24 -- with $100,000 dedicated to each case.

Click on the link provided above to read the complete news article.

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Geraldo Rivera is featuring the 2 Million Dollar Story on his show, Geraldo at Large. you can watch a video about Beatrice's recovery in the archive. Click on the 11/9 link. The other 19 missing persons are shown briefly. Here's the link:

Geraldo At Large - Video Archive

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Palladium-Item - - Richmond, Ind.

Geraldo tapes case

$100,000 reward for Niqui McCown brings other calls



Money attracts attention.

With the offer of a $100,000 reward on the table for information leading to Niqui McCown, national television wants to know more about the five-year-old missing person case. While the offer generated national attention, it hasn't produced much in the way of leads in the case yet. "We've had five calls," Roger Redmond, the lead detective in the case, said.

But every spurt of publicity helps Redmond in his quest for a solution. A film crew affiliated with "Geraldo At Large" was in Richmond collecting footage to be used on the show in the near future. Geraldo Rivera is just the latest in a series of national television personalities who have been attracted to the persistent local mystery.

Please continue to read at the link provided.

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Palladium-Item - - Richmond, Ind.

Deadline passes for reward

$100,000 fails to entice new leads in Niqui McCown case

Twenty days of floating a $100,000 reward offer failed to yield any solid leads on the whereabouts of Niqui McCown.

The deadline for the offer passed at midnight.

"If for some reason this isn't the time, I'm still sure Niqui will come home someday," Barbara McCown said.

Barbara McCown is Niqui's mother. She had a surge of hope when the reward offer was made that the money might resolve the five-year-old case that has baffled investigators.

Philadelphia businessman Joe Mammana made the offer. It began on Nov. 5 and ended Friday.

"It's been such a ride," Barbara McCown said.

"I'm staying busy to keep my mind off the deadline," she said Friday afternoon.

Detective Roger Redmond, the lead investigator on Niqui's case, had hoped the prospect of the reward might cause someone to talk.

"I got nothing," Redmond said. "I've had 10 or 12 calls from psychics, but that's all.

Click on the link provided above to read the complete news article.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Mother still retains hope for life of missing daughter

A new year has begun -- another new beginning, another day of love, hope and faith. Last July we celebrated Niqui's life, even though Detective Redmond advises us of Niqui's demise. We have seen no proof and after the capture and release of two kidnapped teens, my hope is boundless. Two and a half years ago I was in a deep concentration about Niqui. I spoke and prayed endlessly to God. While contemplating, a thought came in to my mind -- love, hope and faith. This has been my calling card. Numerous times it has covered and protected and then last March while conferring with God, he showed me why: for the love of Niqui, hope of a father and faith of a mother -- three words that mean everything in my existence now.

Love represents God for he is love. Hope represents Jesus, for if God is the father then Jesus Christ can be our only hope. And faith is the Holy Ghost, for where I go you cannot follow but I will send you a comforter. Mary covered herself with it daily and this mother does the same. Many letters and phone calls later I feel I must answer, so I turn to the media, as I could not possibly recall all of your names.

Chew it and let it become honey in your mouth. Believe me, it will. Continue with your prayers. Where two or more come together, he is there too.

Justice for Niqui -- or is it "just us"?

Barbara McCown, Richmond

McCown's daughter, Marilyn "Niqui" McCown, has been missing since July 22, 2001.

Palladium-Item - - Richmond, Ind.

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Missing and missed

Ceremony recalls family member gone 24 years



Twenty-four years have passed but one thing remains the same -- Rhonda Combs and Darrell Holland still love and miss their brother Carl.

And they claim to have new information that they hope will answer a question that has gone unanswered for almost a quarter century.

In June 1983, Rhonda was visiting her 23-year-old brother and a woman with whom he was living in Ohio. All of a sudden, she said, her brother got up and left his home and never returned. It was the last time Rhonda Combs saw him.

Saturday was the first time the family members decided to share feelings with the community as they held a ceremony in Carl's honor. About 25 people attended the 90-minute ceremony, including Tammy McCown, who is the sister of Niqui McCown, who disappeared from a coin-operated laundry on July 22, 2001.

"We are doing this just to let (Carl) know that he is loved and we wish he would come home," Rhonda Combs said. "You can't give up. We have to keep trying."

Holland, who attended Richmond High School, is one of two active missing persons cases in Richmond. McCown is the second.

After Holland left the home 24 years ago, family members became worried when a few days passed and they had not heard from him.

After a few more days, his vehicle was discovered in Lynn, Ind.

His family wanted to file a missing persons report, but because Holland was an adult, they had to wait two weeks to file, said Darrell Holland.

Since then, the family has been doing what it can to find its loved one.

Over the past six months, the family has learned more information, Combs said.

"We can't talk about what we've found," Combs said. "But I have a good feeling."

Holland's brother and sister have been the ones doing the bulk of the investigating, because their father passed away and their mother has become seriously ill.

"If anyone knows anything about where Carl is, all they have to do is call us, they don't even have to give us their name," Holland said. "Until someone finds his body and proves to me that he's dead, he is still alive."

Combs described her brother as a nice, laid-back person who loved children and enjoyed playing a good game of pool.

Her fondest memory of her brother came when he was painting the ceiling of their mother's home.

"He was about 6'3'' or 6'4" and could paint the ceiling just by standing on his toes," Combs said. "One day while he was painting, his nephew James got into the paint cans and was covered from head to toe. All Carl could do is laugh because he loved kids so much."

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Today marks 6 years since Niqui McCown disappeared. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family today. May they have answers soon.


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Indiana Woman Missing For Six Years

Six years after she disappeared, her family came together over the weekend to keep her memory alive.

Sunday marked the sixth anniversary of Niqui McCowan's disappearance from a Richmond Indiana laundry .

After five months of no leads back in 2001, police found her vehicle with the laundry still folded in the back seat in an apartment complex in the Dayton area.

That is the only significant lead police said they had.

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Reunion honors woman missing for 6 years

Family still seeking answers in case of Marilyn Renee 'Niqui' McCown, a Sinclair student last seen in Richmond, Ind.


By Thomas Gnau

Staff Writer

Monday, July 23, 2007

RICHMOND, Ind.  Finding the Marilyn Renee "Niqui" McCown family reunion Sunday wasn't hard.

Visitors simply followed the homemade signs, complete with McCown's photos, to a shelter at Middlefork Reservoir off U.S. 27.

The shelter itself boasted the biggest sign. "For the love of Niqui," it proclaimed. "Missing July 22, 2001."

On that sign was another photo, this one of McCown smiling.

Payton Johnston was only 9 when her mother disappeared.

"I'm fine," the now-15-year-old said. "It's just another day to me. I mean, it's another day she's not here, but she is here, you know?"

In some ways, it was another Sunday, McCown's sister, Tamie Hughes agreed.

"She (McCown) would have been at my house or my mother's house after church," Hughes mused.

"We would have discussed her wedding arrangements."

McCown had been engaged to be married Aug. 18, 2001.

"It's kind of tough," said Hughes.

As far as family members know, McCown, then 28, was last seen at a Richmond laundromat on South E Street six years ago Sunday.

The Sinclair Community College student did her laundry there each Sunday, said another of her sisters, Michelle McCown-Luster.

The same laundry McCown did that day was found neatly folded in the back of her SUV on Nov. 3, 2001.

The vehicle was parked at the Meadows of Catalpa apartment complex in Montgomery County's Harrison Twp., where McCown lived in 1997 with an ex-boyfriend.

Police have charged no one, although McCown-Luster hopes new information will be available soon.

"I'm not going to give up until I have found out what happened to my sister," she said.

McCown's oldest niece, Torrey Hampton, 32, is pregnant with a baby she is scheduled to deliver on McCown's birthday, Jan. 6.

Hampton likes that coincidence. McCown shouldn't be forgotten, but life should go on, she said.

"It has to," she said, touching her belly.

"Niqui would want it that way."

Information on Niqui McCown

For more information on NIqui McCown, visit

If you have information, call Richmond police Detective Roger Redmond at (765) 983-7250.

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Former Trotwood cop suspect in woman's disappearance


By Tom Beyerlein

Staff Writer

Friday, October 12, 2007

TROTWOOD Officer Tommy L. Swint resigned under pressure from the Trotwood police Aug. 31 after a Richmond, Ind., detective informed local authorities that Swint is a suspect in the 2001 disappearance of Marilyn Renee "Niqui" McCown, city officials confirmed Friday.

Swint, 40, of Harrison Twp. was sworn in as a Trotwood officer July 16. He also was a corrections officer at the Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center, a state prison, from May 1994 until he resigned effective Aug. 21. McCown of Richmond also worked at the prison.

"He was a suspect in a deal we had here and has been for many years," said Capt. Greg Pipes of the Richmond police investigations unit. "We had tried to talk to him (about the McCown case). We haven't been able to do anything with it yet. But we haven't given up."

Pipes said a Richmond detective visited Trotwood police officials shortly before Swint's resignation and told them of Swint's connection with the case. Trotwood officials said Swint was given a chance to resign or be terminated. Swint was a probationary employee at the time.

Public Safety Director Mike Etter said "it was a situation where he should have disclosed more to us up front (during his job interview). He may be 100 percent innocent."

Swint hasn't been arrested or charged in the case. He could not be reached for comment.

McCown, then 28, was last seen July 22, 2001, at a Richmond laundromat. On Nov. 3, 2001, police found her SUV parked at the Meadows of Catalpa, a Trotwood apartment complex where McCown lived in 1997 with a boyfriend. Her laundry was found folded on the back seat.

Pipes said Swint and McCown knew each other from working at the prison. McCown also started there in 1994, as an account clerk in the business office, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Richmond police have said they believe McCown left the laundromat and went to Dayton to meet someone she knew from the prison.

A single mother, McCown was attending Sinclair Community College and planning her wedding when she vanished.

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Police question friend in 2001 case

'Person of interest' in McCown disappearance quit Trotwood, Ohio, police force during August



TROTWOOD, Ohio -- The sister of Marilyn "Niqui" McCown confirmed Friday evening reports that a former Trotwood, Ohio, police officer is being questioned about Niqui's 2001 disappearance.

Officer Tommy L. Swint resigned reportedly under pressure Aug. 31 from the Trotwood police department after a Richmond detective informed them that Swint was a suspect in McCown's disappearance, the Dayton Daily News was reporting in its online editions Friday night.


Trotwood is a suburb of Dayton.

McCown's sister, Tamie Hughes, said the family had been advised of suspicions about Swint for some time, but was told by Richmond police not to say anything.

"He was always one of the people who was originally 'of interest,'" Hughes said Friday evening. Authorities typically identify a "person of interest" as an individual they are questioning but not necessarily as a suspect.

However, Richmond Police Department Capt. Greg Pipes identified Swint as a suspect in the case, according to the Dayton newspaper.

"I can just tell you that he (Swint) was a close friend of my sister and she looked at him as a big brother," Tamie Hughes said of her sister and the apparent suspect. McCown and Swint, 40, worked together at the Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center, which is a state prison.

"Well, my words are 'damn,'" Hughes said. "They are 'damn' because of the simple fact I'm glad someone finally has come forward. I wish they had said something six years ago because maybe we would have more answers.

"We've been waiting for this to happen and my family praises God for that. I would really like to know who (the Richmond detective) was because I would like to thank this person, but I think this person has more insight into this," she added.

Swint has not been arrested or charged in the case. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

McCown was 28 when she was last seen July 22, 2001, at a coin-operated laundry in the 1000 block of South E Street in Richmond.

On Nov. 3, 2001, McCown's vehicle was parked at a Trotwood apartment complex where she lived in 1997 with a boyfriend, to whom she was engaged.

Her Richmond family and friends have kept a constant vigil since McCown's disappearance, writing frequent letters to the newspaper and marking anniversaries since her disappearance as well as birthdays.

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Trotwood Officer Person Of Interest In McCown Disappearance

POSTED: 9:09 pm EDT October 12, 2007

UPDATED: 9:17 pm EDT October 12, 2007

TROTWOOD, Ohio -- There is new information Friday in the case of a Richmond woman who has been missing for more than six years.

A former Trotwood police officer is being called a person of interest in the disappearance of Niqui McCown.

Tommy Swint resigned from the force on Aug. 31 after investigators from Richmond told local authorities about his possible involvement in McCowns disappearance.

McCown was last seen July 22, 2001, at a Richmond Laundromat.

Her SUV turned up three and half months later at an apartment complex in Trotwood.

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